Edwin Perkins: Kool-Aid Inventor
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13-year-old Businessman

Hendley Post Office
Hendley, Nebraska Post Office.
Courtesy Hastings Museum

Edwin Perkins was quite the entrepreneur. By the young age of 13, Perkins was already serving as the postmaster for Hendley, Nebraska. At that time, Edwin responded to two magazine ads. One was on how to manufacture pre-packaged foods and the other was on how to start your own print shop.


Edwin Perkins and printing press
Perkins used this printing press to run his mail order and newspaper businesses. L-R, Fred Wixson, Ada Converse, Edwin E. Perkins (also in the inset).
Courtesy Hastings Museum

By combining these two types of businesses (conveniently run out of the back of the Hendley Post Office), Perkins began his own mail order company, selling perfume, "bluing" (a chemical used to whiten clothes), and other products he could make with his chemistry set.

On February 12, 1909, he also put the printing press to another good use by publishing the local weekly newspaper, the Hendley Delphic. He continued that "business" for four years after he graduated high school.

Hendley Delphic
The Hendley Delphic, August 27, 1909
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Courtesy Hastings Museum
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